Semi-truck accidents are serious matters that often leave people with catastrophic, life-changing injuries. It might be no surprise, then, that so many truck accident cases are bound for a trial in the courtroom. Although semi-truck accidents don’t always go to trial, many do.
What Makes a Case More Likely to Go to Trial?
Any personal injury claim can go to trial, but some are more likely than others to reach that stage due to various factors involved. A semi-truck accident case includes many of these factors, which is why so many of them resolve through litigation and not settlement negotiations.
Factors that make a case more likely to head to court are:
- Damages: Insurance companies do not like paying any amount of damages to a claimant, but they especially do not like paying large sums that reach six or seven figures. Because truck accidents usually result in severe injuries, the claimants are often owed large amounts of money to pay for medical bills, lost wages, and their pain and suffering. Therefore, insurers are less likely to want to settle a truck accident claim and are more tempted to try their chances in court.
- Liability: When liability for a truck accident is contested, it is more likely to go to court. To stop an insurance company from contesting liability and dragging your case to court where it can take much longer to conclude, you will want to present convincing evidence of liability upfront. Working with an experienced local truck accident can simplify the process of collecting and using different types of evidence, like medical records, police reports, eyewitness testimonies, and truck driver service histories. When an initial demand letter is sent to the insurance company, backing it up with proof of liability can reduce the chances of the case being taken to court.
- Reputation: The reputation or name of a trucking company might influence that company to be less willing to settle because offering a settlement can be seen as an unofficial admission of guilt. On the other hand, if the trucking company can defend itself in court and pay nothing to the claimant, then it can better argue that its driver did nothing wrong. On the other hand, some companies want to settle because it can actually look good for the company’s reputation as a “caring” company that just wants what is best for people.
Benefits of Settling Out of Court
Trucking companies and truck accident claimants alike can benefit from settling a case instead of taking it to trial, though. The main benefit of settling for a trucking company is confidentiality. Settlement negotiations and agreements are confidential and not disclosed to the public unless both parties allow it. If a trucking company or corporation would rather no one know about the accident, then it could offer a fair settlement upfront in hopes of not risking litigation, in which all court documents will be public by default.
Claimants can benefit from a settlement because the process is generally much faster than a trial. In a straightforward truck accident case that can settle, a conclusion might be reached in as little as six months or less, whereas litigation usually takes a year or more. If you are hurting financially after a semi-truck accident, then you should let your attorney know, so they can position your case for a settlement first instead of pushing for litigation.
Settlements are also beneficial because they bring a concrete solution. Once a settlement offer is signed by both parties, it is official and closed. There is no appealing or retracting the agreement. If a trucking company did try to back out of a settlement, then it is possible that a court would order them to pay even more in punitive damages.
Need to know if your truck accident claim will or should go to trial? Call (800) 674-9339 or contact Dunk Law Firm online to speak with our team of truck accident attorneys. We help clients nationwide, so we are waiting to hear from you, no matter what state or city you call home.